gadgets-and-technology-christmas-feature-image With the Holiday festivities upon us, it’s likely that new tech gadgets have topped your personal wish list. As exciting as these gifts are, you should be aware of the ways that you’ll need to protect your new device. Remember, if it connects to the Internet, it is vulnerable.   For Safe Computer Setup: 1. Install Security Software The moment you connect to the Internet, your computer becomes vulnerable. While a brand-new computer out of the box may seem secure, it is not. Sometimes a brand-new computer may sit in a stock room for months before finding its new home. One of the very first things you should do with your new computer is contact your computer technician and check your Internet security software. Up-to-date Internet security is important because it will defend your computer against viruses, spyware, malware and other online threats. An INVISUS iCare membership provides you with 24/7 tech support to help and guide you to the best software and protection for your computer or device. 2. Software Updates As we mentioned above, sometimes a computer can sit around for a while before being sold. During that time, there’s a good chance that the software installed on the computer has been updated by the manufacturer to help protect against software vulnerabilities. However, that new computer has never been turned on until it arrives in your hands, and has not had the chance to be updated. Once you have installed your Internet security software, run all operating system updates. This will protect your computer against the latest, known threats on the Internet landscape. 3. Remove Unnecessary Software A lot of new computers will come bundled with other software, or “add-ons.” Each program on your computer is essentially a weakness, because it can contain software vulnerabilities. The more programs on your computer, the more vulnerable it is. Go through your applications on your computer and delete the ones you know you won’t use. 4. Put a Password on It Like the key to your house, the password is the key to your digital life. Secure password use is essential for all physical devices, as it is the first defense against unauthorized access. Many people make the mistake of using passwords that are too simple. Create a password with numbers and symbols in addition to random letters. In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, there’s no such thing as a password that’s too complicated. 5. Create a Back-Up Plan In addition to backing up to the cloud, it is always a good idea to have a physical copy of your data. External hard drives are extremely affordable these days. When shopping for an external hard drive, make a note of the capacity of your drive and be sure that the external drive you choose is larger than your computer’s internal drive. After you have selected your drive, create a backup regimen. Most computer operating systems come with a built-in utility for backup. You can schedule it for weekly or monthly backups. Once you’ve completed your backup, remember to unplug your hard drive from your computer to keep it safe from online threats. 6. Transferring Data If you backed up your data successfully before you wiped your old hard drive, putting your files back onto a new computer will be a snap. Just plug in your USB or external hard drive and drag your old files onto your new computer.   For Safe Mobile or Tablet Setup:

1. Back Up Your Old Device First

Chances are, when you get your new phone or tablet, you’ll want to transfer all your old data over to the new device. To do so, you’ll need a copy of your old data first. This can be a bit tricky when it comes to mobile devices, as sometimes people will sometimes get a different device than they previously owned. If you are getting a completely different device than what you had previously, your best bet is to go to the carrier’s website and look up how to transfer data from an old phone to a new phone.

2. Update The Operating System

As with computers, new phones and tablets can sit around a while before being purchased. Once you’ve powered up and connected your device, check for operating system updates and install them immediately.

3. Device Passcodes

Phone and tablet passcodes are another important topic. Opening your device with a single swipe may be convenient, but it also means the device is vulnerable to anyone who picks it up. Use a passcode on your phone, and make certain it auto-locks. That extra bit of security can go a long way.

4. Beware of Third-Party App Stores

Always verify apps before you install them on your phone. There are third-party applications available outside of official app stores. While many of these applications are harmless, others may contain malicious code. It is not recommended to visit these stores, and to only visit the official app store.

5. Disable Bluetooth Connectivity

Disable Bluetooth connectivity when you’re out in public. Bluetooth allows your phone to connect wirelessly with other smart electronics—and enables other people to connect to your device without your permission if it’s left on and unattended. Attackers could be anywhere, from the local coffee shop you frequent, to the coin laundry spot you use around the corner. Leaving your Bluetooth on puts you and your personal information at a huge disadvantage.

6. Setup Social Media Monitoring.

Is your new device for your child? Make sure you know what you are putting in the palm of their hands. Social media sites have become a playground for predators and thieves. My Social Guardian is included with an INVISUS iDefend membership and helps you monitor Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for slander, harassment, bullying, profanity, cyber-stalking, personal information exposure and other privacy and safety risks.  

 7. Durable Cases

Most devices can withstand getting dropped in a rain puddle, pool, or toilet, but not for long. If you’re concerned about your device being subjected to the elements, consider investing in a waterproof case. If you or your child has a case of “butterfingers” then you may want to invest in a shockproof case.

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